Kati Agócs had the U.S. premiere of her string quarter Tantric Variations, performed by the Cecilia String Quartet on Stradivari instruments, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in December.
Alexandra Anthony has a one-week theatrical run of her film Lost in the Bewilderness in Athens, Greece (1/12-1/18) at the Alkyonis Art Cinema. National Greek TV (ERT) will broadcast the film 1/15. The film’s December premiere in Greece received press attention in Madame Figaro and THETOC.gr.
Samantha Fields has a performative sculptural installation in the exhibition Is this Something at the Lasell College Wedeman Gallery (1/24-2/11, reception 1/29, 4-6 PM). Next summer, she will be Artist-in-Residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin.
Recently, WBUR had a story about how events out of our control – such as the recent election – create stress and internal turmoil that can disrupt all aspects of our lives.
For artists creating (or trying to create) new work, this can mean a serious disruption of their art-making process. We asked artists, How do you approach art-making during times of emotional distress?
Jodie Mim Goodnough, multidisciplinary artist
My work for years has been about emotional distress, both mild and pathological, and the coping mechanisms we use to self-soothe, so you’d think I’d have all the tools I need. Based on the research for my recent work, what I should be doing is going for long walks in the woods and taking deep breaths of forest air. What I’m actually doing, however, is sitting on the couch reading about how much better I would feel if I went for a walk in the woods.
But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you can’t beat yourself up for slowing down occasionally – it only compounds the misery. When I don’t have it in me to hit the studio I do small things in the direction of productivity. I research and I plan for future projects. And I look for non-art tasks that feel productive as well, like studying Spanish. I’m currently living in Providence, which has a large Latino population. I feel like I need to find ways to better connect with people in my community right now, and learning another language, even at a basic level, will help me do that.
Jessica Reik, writer
There are always emotions. Some of them are more uncomfortable for me to be with than others. Some, like elation, feel really good but interfere with my ability to write – elation wants the external and so I’m out doing, not home writing! Fear, sadness, insecurity, they pose different challenges. Seeming bottomless (they never are), they threaten to take over the executive self and with it, all those evolved capacities of the human brain – like perspective – I rely on to write.
I like to sit with a difficult emotion and feel where it’s lodged in my body, then find out what’s underneath. Take fear (often in my lower abdomen). Fundamentally, it’s a lack of basic safety, so I look for that safety in tangible ways and identify what is trustworthy and supportive — my bones, my breath, the chair I’m sitting in. Simple stuff. I like to give structure for the emotion, a house I’ve built for it to roam around in, because the emotion itself isn’t the problem, it’s my reaction to it.
Always, in the end, I find myself in the same place at the end of this process — back to the work. My writing comes out of those very same vulnerable places where sadness takes root — where all emotions do — and yet is also one of the sources of stability that gets me through.
Michael Joseph, photographer
In times of emotional stress, not only making art, but also viewing art can provide a much-needed emotional release. Often my most productive periods are when I feel a need to disconnect with my own internal stressors and reconnect with life that is happening around me. Grabbing my camera and going for a walk breaks up a physically sedentary day but also an emotionally clouded one.
Street photography is unique in that it allows the artist to be present with the world in a way that working in a studio cannot. It shifts our role from being a participant to being an observer. Working on the street has a unique duality: the sometimes frustrating challenge of dealing with the unforeseen but also the excitement and reward of capturing the serendipitous. Events out of our control and uncertainty therefore become positives. By paying close attention to unpredictable actions and emotions of others in fluid environments, we are forced to focus less on our own internal thoughts to capture external narratives in real time.
I always saw the camera as a powerful tool of connection. Making street portraits of strangers whose personalities and places in the world are different from my own, forces me to engage with others and learn from them. It presents the challenge of making their unique, internal story come to the surface through a portrait. There is no time for subjects to look in the mirror, change clothes, fix hair or put on make-up, and I can’t ask the sun to change or the clouds to move… I am forced to make art from what is before me. And in that reality, I make my most powerful work.
Jodie Mim Goodnough is a Providence, Rhode Island-based artist whose work revolves around the use of images in psychology and psychiatry, and includes photography, sculpture, performance, video and sound. Recently, she received a 2017 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography and was named a 2017 Traveling Fellow by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Her work will exhibit in Building a Lineage at Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, January 2017.
Michael Joseph is a street and street portrait photographer. His “Lost and Found” series, which has been featured on CNN, will be included in the December 8 slide presentation night (Dec 8, 6:30 PM) to complement IDENTITY: The List Portraits at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Recently honored in PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass 2016 Top 50 list, he’ll have work in the accompanying exhibition (Apr 7-May 2 at the Artwork Network Gallery Space in Denver). He has an article coming out in the December issue of the Czech Republic magazine CILICHILI. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.
Writer Jessica Reik was awarded a fellowship position in Grub Street’s Memoir Incubator Program, where she worked on the memoir The Fathom-Long Body. Recently, she received a fellowship to attend a Ucross Foundation residency and was named a finalist in StoryQuarterly Non Fiction Prize. On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at 7 PM, she’ll read her work in an event featuring MCC literary awardees.
Images: Jodie Mim Goodnough, NORTHAMPTON STATE HOSPITAL (2015) from the PROSPECT project, three Inkjet Prints on cotton lawn, 36×78 in; Michael Joseph, SOPHIE (2013), archival pigment print, 16×16 in.
Every two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awards grants to some of the most talented writers and poets working in the Commonwealth. Literary artists awarded through MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program will share work at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 7 PM.
October-y news from current and past MCC Artist Fellows/Finalists.
Caleb Cole, Dana Filibert, Shelley Reed, and Sarah Wentworth are among the artist exhibiting in Fertile Solitude at the Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts (10/14-12/18, opening reception 10/14, 6-8 PM). The exhibition, curated by FLUX.Boston creator Elizabeth Devlin, explores the idea of reprieve from everyday life through the physical framework of a maze that exhibition visitors are free to explore.
Alice Bouvrie is screening her film A Chance To Dress at MIT (10/13, 7 PM). The filmmaker along with the subjects of the film, Dr. John “Tephra” Southard and his wife, Rev. Jean Southard, will be present for a post-screening Q & A.
Matt Brackett‘s first solo show in Boston in four years will take place at Alpha Gallery (10/7-11/2, opening reception 10/7, 6-8 PM). One of the included paintings, Moonstone, was one of 35 works out of over 2,400 applicants to receive a Certificate of Excellence in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition last spring. See the artist’s Studio Views post on ArtSake.
Marky Kauffmann was invited to participate in the Berlin Foto Biennale after being named a finalist in the 2015 Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. Also, she’ll exhibit in the group show Mirror with a Memory at the Peter Miller Gallery in Providence, RI (10/20-11/12, opening reception 10/20, 5-9 PM).
Lisa Kessler received a George Gund Foundation commission to photograph in the Cleveland public schools. The photography collection will be on exhibit at the Cleveland Public Main Library in downtown Cleveland (thru 10/28). A smaller traveling exhibit will be on display at several library branches around the city.
Melinda Lopez has a new play, Mala, at ArtsEmerson (10/27-11/20). Also, she contributed a short play to Still Waiting a series of vignettes created to accompany the play Waiting for Lefty at Boston College Robsham Theatre (10/13-10/16).
Rania Matar has photography in the exhibition Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forth at Tufts University Art Center (thru 12/4). Her solo show Becoming: Girls, Women, and Coming of Age exhibits at Pictura Gallery in Bloomington, IN (10/7-11/26, opening reception 10/7 5-8 PM, artist talk 10/11, 7 PM). In December, that same gallery will exhibit Rania’s work in Pulse Miami. Her work is included in Aftermath: The Fallout of War – America and the Middle East at Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, FL (thru 12/ 31. artist talk 10/23, 2 PM) Her work is also exhibiting at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut Lebanon and at C. Grimaldis Gallery
Mary Bucci McCoy is in the experimental group exhibition Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us) at boeckercontemporary in Heidelberg, Germany (10/15-31). Also, she will have a public conversation with Brooklyn artist David Mann at Rafius Fane Gallery in SoWa, Boston (10/8, 2-4 PM).
Angela Zammarelli is exhibiting in the group show The Unity of Opposites at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA (thru 10/30, opening reception 10/14, 5-8 PM). She is currently in residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and will be participating in an open studios 10/19, 5-7 PM.
Every two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awards grants to some of the most talented writers and poets working in the Commonwealth. Literary artists awarded through MCC’s Artist Fellowships Program will share work at the Forbes Library on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 PM.
Poets Entries are now being accepted for the New Criterion’s Poetry Prize of $3,000 and publication by St. Augustine’s Press. The prize is given annually for a poetry collection that pays close attention to form. Erica Dawson, Roger Kimball, and David Yezzi will judge. Submit a manuscript of up to 60 pages with a $25 entry fee byVisit the website for complete guidelines. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Artist Business Grants MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program is seeking Boston-based applicants for its Matched Savings Program, which supports creative entrepreneurs with a matching grant and artist-focused business and financial training. Eligible applicants must have a home or studio address in the City of Boston. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Poets, Fiction Writers Entries are currently being accepted for the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prizes. Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication by University of Massachusetts Press are given annually for a first poetry collection, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a novel or novella. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016
Short Fiction Entries are now being accepted for the University of Iowa Press Short Fiction Awards. Two awards of publication by University of Iowa Press are given annually for first collections of short fiction. Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Learn more.
Deadline: September 30, 2016
MCC Artist Fellowships The Massachusetts Cultural Council is currently accepting Artist Fellowship applications for Crafts, Dramatic Writing, and Sculpture/Installation/New Genres. Artist Fellowships are unrestricted, anonymously judged grants for Massachusetts artists in recognition of artistic excellence. Fellowship awards are currently $12,000. Finalist awards are $1,000. Learn more.
Deadline: Monday, October 3, 2016
STARS Residencies The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s STARS Residencies Program (Students and Teachers Working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars) provides grants of $500-$5,000 to schools to support creative learning residencies of three days or more in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Learn more.
Application opens October 6, 2016 at 4pm
Videos, Animations, Computer Generated Work Proposals for the next round of Art on the Marquee are currently being accepted. Looking for work 30 second videos, animations or computer generated work, that use the entire Marquee in creative ways. Please submit a storyboard, statement, work samples, and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org The call is limited to artists who live anywhere in the state of Massachusetts. Learn more.
Deadline: October 16th, 2016 (midnight)
Boston Choreographers The Boston Foundation and The Aliad Fund have announced Next Steps for Boston Dance, a new grant program that provides multi-layered support for Boston-area choreographers creating original work in any genre. Offers 250 hours of rehearsal space; 6-10 consultations with experts in chosen areas of need/interest; $5,000 in implementation funds for the artist to take a “next step” in his/her work or career; a series of cohort meetings to connect choreographers, build relationships, and allow for co-learning. A minimum of three grants will be awarded in this pilot round/first year of Next Steps. Learn more.
Deadline: Oct 24, 2016 at 5pm
Ten-minute Plays Submissions of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights are now being accepted for the Boston Theater Marathon XIX to be held May 14, 2017, at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Learn more.
Deadline: November 15, 2016
Writing Conference Scholarships If you’re interested in attending Muse and the Marketplace, GrubStreet’s national conference for writers, in Boston Spring 2017 but could use financial support, GrubStreet is offering numerous $250 scholarships for attendees. Learn more.
Deadline: November 21, 2016
A gallery featuring artists in an event at New Art Center Sept. 30
State-honored writers and poets will read and an awarded choreographer will perform at the New Art Center in Newton, MA on Friday, September 30, 2016. The event is in conjunction with the MCC Artist Fellows in Painting, Choreography, Drawing & Printmaking, and Traditional Arts exhibition (Sept 16-Oct 15) and will begin with a performance by MCC Choreography Fellow Candice Salyers, followed by a reading of Fellows/Finalists in the literary arts. Both the reading and the performance will take place in the exhibition space where art by MCC Fellows will be on view.
Also exhibiting concurrent with this event, in New Art Center’s Holzwasser Gallery, is a dual show by NAC students Irwin E. Thompson & Ingrid Scheibler, Pathways to Abstraction. The opening reception for Pathways to Abstraction will take place 5-7 PM that same evening (9/30), so arrive early for a multi-disciplinary experience in the arts.
Watch for more events featuring MCC literary awardees in the weeks and months ahead.
Maybe it’s the unremarkable visit to the grocery store that sparks an idea for a new project. Or the stultifying job that drives frantic art-making at night. Sometimes, unexpected places prove crucial to the artistic process, be it in the inspiration, the making of, or both.
As part of our periodic questions to artists about their work and lives, we asked: Has a surprising or unusual locale ever proven a boon to your art-making?
Howard Axelrod, writer
Several readers have asked whether I wrote my memoir, The Point of Vanishing, which is about living in solitude in northern Vermont, while I was living in solitude in northern Vermont. I didn’t. I wrote it mostly in a house just outside of Boston, in my apartment on the third floor, in a room facing a busy street, the windows closed against the noise of deliveries at the local taqueria, and the blinds closed against the sun. Readers tend to find this image, rather than the romantic one of a writer at a rough-hewn desk overlooking the mountains, disappointing.
But the outpost that inspires writing isn’t necessarily conducive to it. To write, it helps me to be in a place that doesn’t call for my attention — to be above a street I can easily forget and then easily return to, to be in a place whose grandeur is less than that of the place I’m writing about. Of course, it helps to have traveled back from a place, like the northern Vermont woods, that I can’t help but remember.
Cecelia Raker, playwright
I am not a morning person. I have visions of my someday self awakening with the sunrise birds and blissfully churning out pages with a cup of steaming tea… yeah, nope, that’s not me. I will stay up until 3am and then sleep until 1pm if you let me. I try not to let me, because of weird stuff like human relationships and day jobs.
I am, however, an airplane person. I remember as a kid staring for hours out the tiny windows, making up stories about the towering clouds’ lives. I love the whoosh of takeoff, the stomach-scramble of turbulence, the patchwork of little lives laid out below.
Unfortunately, given that I’m also an artist on a tight budget, I most often end up on airplanes that leave very early in the morning – cranky, disheveled, exhausted. These seats are not a bed. The air smells recycled. Nothing is beautiful or inspiring. Put that window down, I’m trying to sleep.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered by accident that crack-of-dawn air travel seems to be the exact cocktail I need to write more prolifically than I ever do while grounded. Something about being suspended in a fragile metal wing-can miles above my planet makes me believe that anything I make while in that space won’t be too significant—and somehow that short-circuits my usual loop of procrastination and perfectionism, and I land with a journal full of decently usable and sometimes even funny scenes. I wish airlines had writers’ residencies.
Stephen Mishol, visual artist
My drawings are studio fictions but much of the catalyst for this grew out of my time living in Boston’s South End, on the edge of all the construction that was taking place there at the time. Even though my work doesn’t document a specific place and depends on collections of information from many places, the qualities of that landscape informed much of my work and still does to this day – the diffused light, the compression of forms, and the manner in which the city seemed to reinvent itself on a daily basis.
In that environment, it was easy to experience extreme change – from the open horizon of the sea, to the congestion of the city. In addition, over time, as the landscape became more fused with construction, it developed a very muscular ability to redirect and alter progress and perception as one traveled through it.
Eventually, I came to view the city more as an equation of division and accumulation, reflecting shifts in aesthetics, politics and necessity. To this day, my drawings are still influenced by that time and like that environment, I continue to see them as equations in the process of defining themselves.
Stephen Mishol is a visual artist who teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He has received MCC fellowships in both Drawing & Printmaking and Painting and is represented by Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston.
Cecelia Raker is a 2016 PlayLab Fellow with Company One Theatre in Boston. Her play “La Llorona,” which recently received an Honorable Mention on the 2016 Kilroys List, will have a reading at Company One on July 24. The play will go on to have a workshop at Fresh Ink Theatre in September, with a full production planned for May ’17.
Five new works created by teams of women artists – which include four past MCC awardees – will be presented as the latest Art on the Marquee by Boston Cyberarts. Ambreen Butt, Mags Harries, Nathalie Miebach, and Deb Todd Wheeler are all creating work for the 80-foot-tall multi-screen LED marquee outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (opening reception 6/1, 6:30-8:30 PM).
Ben Sloat is one of the artists in the three-person show Uncannyland at One Mile Gallery in Kingston, NY (6/4-6/25, opening reception 6/4, 6-9 PM).
Naoe Suzuki had an artist residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA, organized by the Assets for Artists Initiative, in April. In 2016, she is Artist in Residence at Broad Institute, a collaborative community pioneering a new model of biomedical research, based in Cambridge, MA. Check out Naoe’s Tumblr site for her project Flow, an extension of the participatory installation she created at UMass Lowell last year.
Jung Yun‘s novel Shelter got a great review in the Briefly Noted section of The New Yorker. She has an article, My Fargo, in the April edition of The Atlantic.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is honored to announce the 2016 MCC Artist Fellowship awards in Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting. Eighteen artists will receive fellowships of $12,000, and 17 artists will receive $1,000 finalist awards. See a full list of this year’s fellows and finalists.
The awards are anonymously judged, based solely on the artistic quality and creative ability of the work submitted. Applications were open to all eligible Massachusetts artists. A total number of 1109 applications were received: 54 in Choreography, 485 in Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and 570 in Painting.
The Choreography panelists were Junichi Fukuda, James Morrow, Cheri Opperman, and Sydney Skybetter.
The Fiction/Creative Nonfiction panelists were Jane Brox, Kristiana Kahakauwila, Helen Elaine Lee, and Mehdi Tavana Okasi; the readers were Alicia Anstead, Sybil Baker, LaShonda Barnett, Sarah Blackman, Lydia Conklin, Steven Edwards, Joseph Fazio, Sheba Karim, Kate Leary, Tien-Yi Lee, William Peters, and Harry Stecopoulos.
The Painting panelists were Philip Brou, Gwen Strahle, Azadeh Tajpour, and Mary Tinti.
Images: Nicole Duennebier, TUNICATE AND GOLDEN SAC (2014), acrylic on panel, 48×34 in; still photo from 2125 STANLEY STREET by Dahlia Nayar; cover art for SHELTER (Picador 2016) by Jung Yun; Catherine Kehoe, STILL LIFE WITH WHITE PEONY (2015), oil on panel, 8×8 in; Raul Gonzalez III, EL MALVERDE (2012), fluid acrylic, pencil and pen, 12×9.5 in.